christmas overdose

Red and White Christmas

2012, Merry Excess!

Now that Christmas is over, there’s a tree to undress, to toss curbside, wrapping paper to recycle, a New Year’s resolution to avoid. Oh, and the returns, money back, do-overs. Lines, all without the mistletoe or merriment. People become grumpy. Except for those of us who stay afloat with cocktail and dress dreams for the midnight kiss that will turn out to be the great let down. On New Year’s, I think we all feel like middle children, as if the truly good moments are happening to someone else. New Year’s Eve never lives up to the magic behind it.

This past Christmas was magical, strung up in TCM films, black and white, tears streaming my face, Holiday Affair a new favorite. Movies have a way of marking our memories, and these films in particular make me feel cozy and hopeful, romantic and traditional, thankful.

We picked out a fresh tree, rigged it up in a no-fail stand. The next day, as I was in the kitchen having breakfast with the beans, we heard a tinkering then a whoosh, thud, crunch. The tree was sleeping on the living room floor, broken ornaments, crumbled spray snow. The Leaning Tower of Pine it became, leaning crooked against the wall. Jingle balls.

Snow fell like feathers on Christmas Eve. Cookies made for Santa, carrots for the reindeer, special jammies worn just for the occasion. I don’t want to take the tree down. Somehow, this year Christmas came and went too fast. I didn’t listen to enough Christmas music, despite feeling at one point that I’d overdone it. The way I had one summer, when I devoured too many oysters, to the point where they turned me off. I had this thought about Taj Mahal’s “Lovin in my baby’s eyes,” a song at the beginning of a CD I had in my alarm clock in my first apartment after college graduation. This season I almost overdosed on The Best of Stevie Wonder Christmas Collection. It’s my all time favorite holiday album, ever. Sorry, Bing.

2011 Christmas, Boca Raton

2011, Boca Raton, Christmas in Florida.

The one overwhelming feeling I had this Christmas was what I’d describe as Sugar and Spice. Lots of sweet moments but all laced with spice, the kind that stings your tongue and makes your eyes water. I’m mindful this year, above all others, of what other people are enduring. While I’m belting out songs with my beans, there are other parents in waiting rooms, elbows on knees, heads bent in prayer and exhaustion. There are people mourning, friends holding the hand of another friend, across the country, a friend in a medically-induced coma. Fathers pacing. Babies delivered too early to survive. Marriages breaking. People in pain, suffering. They’re all in my thoughts.

Texan Christmas

2010, Christmas in Texas!

We all suffer at some point, whether we bring it on ourselves or whether it’s dealt to us unfairly. It’s why we need to relish the moments meant to become memories, however small. Snowfall, black and white movies, Christmas music and pajamas.

2009, Tiffany Blue Christmas

2009, Tiffany Blue Christmas

Red and White Plaid Tartan Christmas


  1. Many of you have emailed asking where comments have gone. Apparently not everyone can access Disqus commenting. I’m working to correct this… and by “working” I mean, “I surrender” to the old-school comment section, hoping this works itself out.

  2. Our holiday pageant this year was different than any one before. Mom has clawed her way back to life, just in time for dad to have a post-knee replacement stroke, and December became the month of hospitals, ICUs, occluded carotids, walkers, medicines and bed pans. Instead of lugging around gaily wrapped presents, I lugged around wheelchairs and crutches. Instead of cozy baking projects, I gently urged the folks to eat a protein bar to ‘feed’ their various wounds. Instead of hanging up a single decoration, I watched the nurses hang IVs to pump vital fluids into their fragile veins.

    This year, 2012, has really tried to kick my ass. Between the darlings all flying away, the awful break-up with the lovah, the strife with my career, my determination to write a book, and the death pageant we have been rehearsing over and over again, I’m just simply over it.


    But now for the brighter side of the story (I’m 3 Teens’ Mom for god’s sake, I can’t go a whole post without a little Pollyanna!)

    We finally got both mom and dad home safe and sound a couple of days before Christmas, and we spent a few hours together Christmas morning, the darlings, the other village members and me, cozy and safe by the fireplace, ham and eggs, sweet rolls that I baked, orange juice and champagne. We didn’t exchange gifts – we exchanged stories. We didn’t rip open wrapping paper, we cherished love-notes from one-another. Together we discussed the highlights of the year and wrote them down in our family book of crazy quotes and stories that only we understand.

    I tucked the oldsters in safely, and the darlings and I returned home – 6 houses up the street – to a day of comfy movie watching and relaxation.

    Oh – and the break-up with the lovah only lasted a few horrible days last August – all is well.

    1. You’ve had enough life-experiences to last for quite a few years. You’re due for some R&R!! Big-time! Let’s hope that 2013 sheds warmth (not the global type), peace, good health & fulfillment on all of us.

    2. You write beautifully. Write that book. I will be first in line to buy it. With love xxx

  3. The “This Day in Greek History” shows the post “Name That Pup” from 3 years ago today. What ever did happen to Mr. Bikini? Did I miss something somewhere?

  4. 3 Teens: Please write a book and keep all of us posted!

    2012 was not a particularly good year for me, but I am hoping 2013 will be better.

    Best wishes to you all.

  5. Hi Stephanie – I really would like to understand how you are Jewish and celebrate Christmas. I’m in an interfaith marriage (husband Jewish), and the thought of us having a Christmas like yours (even though I’m not Jewish), is completely unthinkable.

    How do you co-mingle this, given that it appears that you are very much adhering to many Jewish holidays/customs? Thanks for any insight.

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